Noninvasive technique to accurately study activity in deepest part of the brain

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 27 2019Researchers at UNIGE have successfully demonstrated that electroencephalography can be used to accurately study activity in the deep areas of the brainThe subcortical areas of the brain, situated in its deepest reaches, remain a mystery. Scientists are aware of the critical role they play in motor, emotional and associative activity but do not know precisely how they work. A number of serious diseases are directly linked to these areas, including Parkinson’s, Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). Existing treatments for regulating and measuring the activity of the subcortical areas are highly invasive, and sometimes work without us really knowing how. Researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, and Cologne University (Germany) decided to see whether a non-invasive method – electroencephalography (EEG) – could be employed in tandem with mathematical algorithms to measure this brain activity externally. They proved for the first time that this technique is able to record signals usually only seen by implanting electrodes in the brain. The results, published in Nature Communications, pave the way for new, precision clinical applications.It is very difficult to study and get close to the subcortical areas, which are located in the deepest part of the brain. We know that two key structures in these areas, the thalamus and nucleus accumbens, communicate with each other and the cortex to control motor, emotional and associative activation (higher-level thinking) via electrical oscillations. “A dysfunction in this communication causes very serious diseases in humans, such as Tourette’s and OCD, which generally begin in adolescence when the brain’s development comes to an end, as well as Parkinson’s disease”, explains Christoph Michel, a professor in the Department of Basic Neurosciences in UNIGE’s Faculty of Medicine.Current treatments, based on deep brain stimulation are highly invasive: implanting electrodes into the center of the brain, which are stimulated electrically by an external stimulator. “Although this technique has been shown to be effective in Parkinson’s, unfortunately it doesn’t work so well for OCD and Tourette syndrome,” says Martin Seeber, a researcher in the Department of Basic Neurosciences and the study’s first author.An established and truly non-invasive analysis techniqueRelated StoriesPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaTo improve existing treatments, it has become essential to understand how these subcortical zones function and how they communicate. The diseases mentioned above only affect humans, however, and suffer from insufficient animal models. Since implanting electrodes is an extremely invasive technique, another method was called for to increase the number of subjects studied. “We naturally thought of EEG, which records the electrical activity of the brain using 256 electrodes placed on the scalp,” continues Michel. But is it really possible to measure deep brain activity from outside the skull?In collaboration with a team headed by professor Veerle Visser-Vanderwalle, a neurosurgeon at the University of Cologne, the UNIGE researchers were able to measure and record the electrical activity of the subcortical areas of four OCD and Tourette’s patients who had been given electrode implants. At the same time, these individuals were equipped with an EEG as the scientists measured the activity of the same areas from the surface. “The mathematical algorithms that we developed meant we could accurately interpret the data provided by the EEG and ascertain where the brain activity was coming from,” says Seeber. And the verdict? The results correlated perfectly. “In obtaining highly similar signals as with the implants, we finally proved that surface EEG can be used to see what is happening in the deepest part of the brain without having to go into it directly!” says professor Michel.The door is open to new precision treatments”Now that we know that EEG can be used to analyze the subcortical zones,” continues Seeber, “we can try to understand how they communicate with each other and the cortex in the hope that we’ll be able to better understand the causes of diseases such as Tourette’s and OCD.” The scientists are also keen to use the technique to improve current treatment methods, based on rebalancing network interactions using a very slight electric shock. They would also like to apply them to other diseases such as obesity, addiction or Alzheimer’s. “Lastly, we hope that in time we’ll be able to stimulate the deep brain areas from the surface via an electromagnetic treatment, doing away with electrode implants in the brain once and for all!” concludes professor Michel. Source: read more

Saradha scam SC vacates order granting protection from arrest to Rajeev KumarSaradha

first_imgFormer Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar (file photo)   –  PTI Saradha chit fund scam: WB Chief Secretary, police chief refute CBI’s charges in SC Supreme Court of India RELATED May 17, 2019 Saradha chit fund scam: HC grants interim protection to Nalini Chidambaram The Supreme Court vacated its order granting protection from arrest to former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha chit fund scam case.The apex court said its February 5 order granting interim protection to Kumar will continue for seven days from Friday to enable him to approach the competent court for legal remedy.A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the CBI to act in accordance with law in the case. One of the advocates who appeared for the IPS officer said that as per the apex court order, Kumar cannot be arrested in the next seven days. “We have withdrawn the protection given to Rajeev Kumar vide order dated February 5,” the court said while pronouncing the order. The judgement was pronounced by Justice Sanjiv Khanna who was part of the bench headed by the CJI and Justice Deepak Gupta.Pronouncing the operative part of the order, Justice Khanna said, “We are leaving it to the CBI to act in accordance with law.” “Our February 5 order will continue for seven days from today to enable Rajeev Kumar to approach the competent court for relief,” he said.At the outset, Justice Khanna, while pronouncing the order, said, “We have expressed our concern as to what has happened in the matter.” Kumar was earlier heading the West Bengal Police’s special investigation team (SIT) probing the chit fund scam. The apex court had in May 2014 directed the CBI to investigate the case.The CBI had told the apex court that it wanted custodial interrogation of Kumar as there was prima facie evidence that he was allegedly trying to destroy or tamper with evidence and “shield high and mighty” in the case.The apex court, on February 5, had granted protection from arrest to Kumar while directing him to appear before the CBI and “faithfully” cooperate into the investigation of cases arising out of the scam.During the arguments on CBI’s plea, the apex court had said it would examine whether there was evidence requiring Kumar’s custodial interrogation in the case and had also perused the case diary placed before it by the agency.However, Kumar’s counsel had countered CBI’s submissions and told a bench headed by the CJI that the agency wanted his custodial interrogation “just to humiliate” him and CBI should not be allowed to abuse the process of law.Kumar’s counsel had told the bench that CBI’s application seeking custodial interrogation of the IPS officer was a “mala fide exercise”.The CBI had claimed in the court that they were seeking vacation of interim protection granted to Kumar as some crucial evidence, collected by the West Bengal Police SIT, was not shared with it despite repeated requests.Kumar’s counsel had argued that the IPS officer was interrogated by the CBI for almost 40 hours and the agency was not able to spell out clearly as to what was the offence committed by him for which they want his custodial interrogation. COMMENT Saradha chit fund scam SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAIL Published on COMMENTSlast_img read more